Joints are a beautiful thing. They allow you to move, stretch and lift all while supporting the weight of your body. As you age, your joints can start to show some signs of wear and tear, but there are some simple things that you can do now to keep your joints healthy.
Linda Franklin, R.N., clinical coordinator for Carilion Clinic Orthopaedics, shares some of her top tips for keeping your hinges smooth.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Staying at a healthy body weight is one of the most important and effective ways to ensure healthy joints.
“For every pound you’re overweight, you are putting 20 pounds of excessive pressure on your weight bearing joints, which later contributes to major hip and knee issues,” said Franklin.
Get Enough Calcium
Franklin also recommended following a proper diet high in calcium and vitamin D. Choosing veggies like lettuce, broccoli, spinach and kale is another good way to boost your intake of calcium, along with the usual sources like milk, yogurt and supplements. And another great tip—kick the soda habit.
“Many are surprised to learn how cola drinks can significantly drain calcium absorption to the bones,” explained Franklin.
If you already experience joint pain, strengthening the muscles and ligaments around your joints can improve your pain level and functionality without surgery.
“I tell patients not to stop using joints that hurt because that will only make it worse,” said Franklin. “But instead, find a way to accomplish what you need to do in a less painful way. Our orthopaedics team works with patients to figure how they can do just that.”
Many of us sit most of the day at work, which constantly flexes your knees and hips. Help your joints by taking a break once an hour. Get up, walk around or stretch.
Talk to Your Doctor
If you are experiencing joint pain, talking to your doctor may provide some information about how you can deal with the pain—with or without medication.
“Many people think their skeletal system is going to last forever, but it’s not,” said Franklin. “You need to ‘buy in’ to making positive changes to your bone health.”
Check out loads more great tips on how to maintain your joints from the Arthritis Foundation.